I have been riding bikes since the age of six, and I have blurry but fond memories of the first road bike I got when I just turned 13 and the roads and places I explored back then.

Fast forward 27 years, and it feels as if I’ve just started my off-road explorations — this time on wider tires and more mechanically advanced vehicles. Since then, riding bikes has widened my horizon in more ways than I could have imagined, and the last three years have been quite transformational, both physically and mentally.

I’ve never been an athlete or aspired to be one, but with longer rides and more challenging terrain, I’ve realized that my body is much more capable than I initially thought. I learned more about my physical and mental boundaries and how these perceived borders start moving once you increase effort and intensity while creating a routine.

Being 43 and having a family with two kids adds its challenges – primarily time-related but also physically. Still, nothing should prevent anybody from enjoying time on a bike, independent of age or experience.

I’m passionate and almost obsessive when getting into something new — doing my research extensively and soaking it all up until I get to the core or add a personal twist on things. It’s incredible how we can learn almost everything about a topic from the comfort of our sofas and mobile devices!

About three years ago, I could barely fix a flat tire, let alone a miss-shifting derailleur. Now I’m building bikes from the ground up without losing a finger or breaking the precious parts I hand-picked and sourced over months.

I’ve never imagined pulling off the type of rides and distances I’m covering now. My tolerance to pain and exposure to unfavorable weather conditions has increased tremendously in the process (usually, I’m a wimp). Observing this evolution is quite something.

Riding longer distances and preparing for these rides helped build confidence and belief. As a result, I feel more confident about my skills as a cyclist – even if still rudimentary, and my ability to overcome and deal with challenging situations. I firmly believe that bikes are called an “accelerator for growth” for a reason.